Jamal Al Hai
Jamal Al Hai (centre) addressing a press conference in Dubai to announce details about the Dubai Accessible Tourism International Summit Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai will be competing to attract 120 million travellers with special requirements when it hosts the Dubai Accessible Tourism International Summit (DATIS) at Dubai World Trade Centre from November 5-6.

The summit, which is in line with Dubai’s vision to become the most disabled-friendly cities by 2020, will highlight the needs of People of Determination when they travel and use tourist facilities, ranging from hotels to resorts and airports to public transport, malls, parks, beaches and museums.

Organisers said the event is aimed at highlighting the challenges faced by more than 10 per cent of tourists in cities across the world.

It also aims to strengthen legislations, infrastructure and services to meet the rights, needs and aspirations of all travelers.

DATIS chairman Jamal Al Hai said that there are around 1.2 billion travelers globally and an estimated 10 per cent of them are people of determination.

“If we put that into perspective, there are around 120 million travelers with special requirements and all cities in the world are competing to invite them for tourism,” he told press on the sidelines of Tuesday’s press conference to announce the summit.

He also quoted a Lonely Planet study that said 50 per cent of People of Determination would travel more if they felt they were better catered for.

“At least 54 per cent of people with special access requirements avoid going to new places if they find it unavailable. Studies also suggest around 50 million people with special needs are looking forward to visit cities and tourist destinations that offer them services tailored to their needs,” added Al Hai.

The Summit’s first edition will be held under the patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group. The Summit aims to highlight the challenges faced by more than 10 percent of the global population during their travelling and exploring as tourists in the cities across the world, and also to underscore the need to strengthen the legislations, infrastructure and services that meet their rights, needs and aspirations to discover the world comfortably.

Shaun Parsons, Complex General Manager, Le Meridien Dubai Complex, said: "The aim of this noble initiative coincides with our ethos of offering the best of hospitality to all our guests from all means of life. We as a partner are invested in this project and are committed to make our property accessible and friendly to the requirements of People with Determination."